GP Wood Ltd, which operates a timber yard in Enniskeane, has been fined €90,000 having pleaded guilty to three charges under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, following an incident in which a 53-year-old employee died in February 2019.
A director represented the company when evidence was given in relation to the incident which led to the death of long-time employee Pat Lacey.
GP Wood had pleaded guilty that as an employer they failed to manage and conduct work activities, specifically the operation of a CAT938M front-loader vehicle, at or near the log storage yard area of the premises in such a way as to ensure the safety, health and welfare of employees, and in particular that they failed to ensure the segregation of pedestrians from the operational area of the vehicle.
The second charge which the company pleaded guilty to was of failing to provide systems of work in similar circumstances that were planned, organised, performed, maintained, revised as appropriate so as to be safe and without risk to health.
The third charge to which they entered a guilty plea was of failure to ensure organisational measures were taken to prevent employees on foot coming within the area of operation of the self-propelled work equipment, specifically the front-loader vehicle.
There were no specific charges in relation to Mr Lacey’s death.
Mr Tom Creed, SC, representing the company said that Mr Lacey ‘was part of the company family’ and was a colleague and friend who is missed by everyone.
An earlier court hearing heard that while there was a walkway in the premises, Mr Lacey was in the habit of taking a shortcut across the floor where the machines were operating.
Three siblings of the dead man, his sisters Caitriona, Carmel and brother John earlier spoke of their grief over the death of their ‘dear brother’ whose ‘joy for life and sense of fun’ was sadly missed by all of them.
They were all finding it difficult to cope with the grief and sadness resulting from the suddenness of his untimely death, especially as Pat died just over a year after their mother passed away. Pat was living in the family home with her and they felt their link to that home had been broken by his death.